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a great contribution. two aspects are significant. one is go with what changes your life. now, if you win, you will know what the first words of your obituary will be. ..
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and when they cover something the community doesn't want them to cover the journalists are ostracized, the local towns also pull out their advertisements which is their economic base and the newspapers to get tremendous risk to write about something that could be a scandal or something important because the community doesn't care about that and when they hear the public service it is a recognition national recognition of the importance and it provides the same kind of umbrella protection the nobel peace prize does they still affect our lives and just like a child may recognize a manner as some from their father and mother you suddenly see them just like my mother we as a culture need to understand that
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we have today come from people that came before us you begin to understand the traits we have about consumption that's understanding the news as a form of entertainment and these are radical notions from his time that we inherited and had taken on to build our society. the other thing that is important and we need to think about it in the changes going on camera over and over again the newspaper business is not just a business. it's to public-service aspect of a democracy cannot function without an informed public that somebody has to be at the school board meeting at 2:00 in the morning to who is going to build the next school and as the press shrinks' today there are no people at those meetings keeping an eye on things and they like the darkest recesses of our society. we know about the hardships about poverty whether we want to
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or not. we know about corruption and the government because of the press and we know what is on the public agenda and sometimes too much like the fiscal cliff we hear about over and over again that these are important roles and pulitzer's story is a reminder of that that yes these are businesses run by the sulzbergers of "the new york times" or gramm of "the washington post" that they have an enormously important civic action and the question we have to deal with as a society is as the paper's no longer support themselves what will come next said that is a part of what people will take away from the book. up next on book tv "after words" with this week's guest host of the pure research
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center. this week weekly standard jonathan last in his book "what to expect when no one's expecting america's economic disaster" he discusses the implosion in the u.s. and its impact on the economy, culture and politics. this program last summer out in our -- lasts about an hour. >> host: welcome. there is a lot going on here and the main thesis is following the birth rate problem and what are the causes and consequences. along the way you touch on many topics including the rise of individualism in american life, the sustainability of social welfare programs, religion and population aging and we get to all of those in the next hour but first why don't you answer for me the question that every reporter is asked by his or her editor when that per approaches the idea why does this matter, why is it important?
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>> guest: it's important because the demographics are what my friend it's like the tectonic plates shifting beneath the earth and demography isn't quite destiny which is the oelwein sogegian know what the profile is than you are able to today what are the confines and the reality in this country. people are choosing to have fewer and fewer children. this is the first time in history that this happened voluntarily at a global scale and it's going to have far-reaching consequences for everyone. >> host: how do we know that it's falling, how is it measured and are we talking about a year or a few years, a decade and
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where has it happened? >> guest: they keep track of these things as you know how many people there are and how many people are born each year you can have a different number of metrics through the birth rate and the general fertility rate and a total fertility rate it's not a real number in the sense that it is hard and fast statistical construct which basically right now at this moment in time if every woman were to live to the end of her life having an average number of children what with that number be in america right now that number is 1.93.
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>> host: you mentioned 1970 but to some extent it's been going on for centuries the fact that birth rates have been growing down. >> guest: it comes in 1800 from almost astounding ucb fertility rates declining we are right a round of the birth rate around 2.1, 2.2 and then after the first world war or the second world war we have the only major increase in the fertility rate in the entire country's history and that is the baby boom.
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that is the term that hits us. as high as 1.7i think for white americans and 3.9 not only did it not jump up and say that an entire generation it was a long-lasting effect and then by 1970 that momentum ended and we saw not only a gradual slowdown but dropping off the cliff and when it happened it happened everywhere in the west and in germany and france and america and its continued to slide and what is interesting is since then, the west has led the global fertility decline and since then you've seen all the other countries right now 97% of the world's population is in a country where the fertility rate is declining.
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in africa and europe and asia and what is really striking and what people don't typically pay attention to the actual fertility rate is high year than it is here in america. the rate of decline is generally steeper and if you look down in mexico and central america and south america while many of them solve a fertility rate above where we have the rate of decline so when you look at these numbers you can't just look at the numbers you have today, and you have to look at the trend and watch the curve to see where we are going to be in another 20 years. >> host: are there certain groups here in the united states and other countries that are having more babies than other groups or conversely on the utility decline as more apparent? >> guest: there are. it's easier to talk about that. fertility rates never crossed the populations so the 1.93 here
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in america is the average. we break that out by different demographic groups with different numbers. the white americans have the ethnic groups at the low fertility rate and about 1.6. african-americans have what is a very healthy fertility rate about 2.0 and hispanic americans have about 2.5 right now. so really the only reason our fertility rate is lower than it is is they are doing all the heavy lifting no one is going to have right now again we have to look at the curve, the decline particularly foreign-born hispanic americans. a depue's center released a study a few months ago showing that over the last three years in 2007 and 2010 they solve a
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fertility decrease 20% that's an astonishing return, so again looking not just where we are not going in the future with this suggests is all these groups are following the middle class americans towards a lower fertility number. >> host: we will take this up leader because it is what some people propose has a solution to some of the fertility. but for now let's also talk a little bit about the larger population process leading to the decline. so certainly we know what happened recently, but going back in time a century or two, talk a little about the larger forces at work. many demographers say the reason birth rates began going down is that there were fewer deaths and there were improvements in the fight against infant deaths and that helps parents have smaller
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families. >> guest: one of the things i say in my book is that it isn't something a conspiracy. the net effect of a giant constellation that nudged us in a single direction some of the forces are a breakdown of the movement and the infant mortality. the infant mortality numbers in the 18th-century in america and europe were astonishingly high. a person trying to have a baby back then and once the infant mortality shrunk its what it is today, almost which is a wonderful development. people have fewer children because they get more children to survival in a much more urban
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country than years ago and you can see the effect of the urbanization of the utility rates even as far back as 1800 america in rural new york there were much higher fertility rates so you have a more urban country become a country where children survive a much higher rate getting people to have fewer babies and peace is a good effect. one of the things they tried to mention in the book is to observe the overall effect creates problems isn't to say that every one of the causes some of them are a wonderful thing. these wonderful things can have ill adverse effect. >> host: why would urbanization lower fertility? >> guest: lots of reasons. one of which is the cost.
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when you urbanize, everything costs more to hire your population density, the higher the cost of living, how your land costs, higher child care costs and education costs, and not just that but if you look back historically and the industrial society in the agrarian society you have seven kids and you are working on a family farm there is a healthy hand. when you are working in the factories and to bring the increased work children are simply a cost and this is one of those factors pushing us in that direction. another big change. the nature of the welfare state that excess in 19th century america. we were basically on our own and our children to care.
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one of the basic reasons to have children. you have a gaggle of kids and one of them at least is a good and now we don't need to have that anymore. we have social security and medicare and it's nice to have a child to look after you and watch more jeopardy but it's no longer necessary. and it's all these little things. these changes, some bigger, some smaller has pushed us in the direction of having fewer and fewer children >> host: back to the issue that you raised. you mentioned this around the book. you talk about the increasing price of childhood such as a thousand dollars for parents who want to get into that. those were some of the figures on the government supply. could you talk a little bit about that and how that might be affecting people's decisions? >> guest: this a family show. i don't know if we can mention some of the members but it's
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striking. it's not just a thousand dollars. it's not just the $14,000. i found a 50,000-dollar backyard place at that one of the most amazing things i've ever seen that michael bloomberg doesn't need a $50,000 at your place at. so the government has kept track of the cost since 1950, and what they have found is the cost has increased in real dollars, not just with inflation, and today if you count college tuition and the forgone wages of a parent wishes and say somebody that stays home for all 23 years, but if you have a baby and you then take off for the first six years until the child is in school full time and return to work, part-time or full-time increasingly, the average cost is going to be about $1.1 million per child. that is a staggering amount of money to spend on when somebody
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is 16 and they are going to say they hate you. it's not just that. you put that in the perspective of the average cost of the home in america but you can't sell it. you can see people even if they are not having children anymore, volume of $50,000 backyard place that, going to thrift stores taking the hand me down close this and strollers from your family it costs a lot of money to have a child in america. >> host: you also mention car seats and the complications of finding the right one and installing it and so forth. >> guest: biggar a fascinating little tributary of all of this and there's a giant constellation of forces pushing us to have fewer children. one of them and it is a tiny force so we couldn't even measure it.
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you and i did not ride in car seats. but you almost never rode in a car seat. you sat in your mother's arms or father's arms or rode around the back seat. fine. we made it today. but in the 1970's a couple people in tennessee, a physician and a legislator got it in their head that wasn't safe for children to be carted around in cars in this panel to the commander said they tried to pass a law requiring car seats. this is good. we like car seats. it turns out it is safer than rolling around in the back seat. they've saved 7,000 lives since the 1970's, that they impose a small cost because you can't get free car seats in the back of a normal sized sedan so if you want a larger family come today three children counts as a larger family company to spend a
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lot more money and get a better car. this is the biggest task in the world but it's a small task and it's one of those measures the car seat in subjectively pro-child and also kind of antifamily. >> host: what about the other social forces leading in this direction? for example, working women, women going to college, all of those need to be pushing to towards a world in which a child could be more difficult for some. >> guest: anything that pushes your average rate of the first birth backwards is going to push you to have fewer children and the average rate is about 28-years-old, 29-years-old. it used to be about 20 to come and part of all of this is that it's made college virtually required for middle class. as you push back that formation so that people can't even think
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about getting married and began family life and again start pushing that horizon. unless you want to have the cost to gather. it becomes a lot harder you have fewer children than you wish they did. the average ideal fertility is perfect, 2.5 and the fertility is almost half a kid of less than that. it's not responsible to have a kid before you're married and settled and may have your first real place. okay it's not responsible to get a place until you have a good job and you can't do the job until you graduate from college. all these start backing up and
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backing up until you are not really beginning family life until you are 30, 32-years-old. >> host: we are seeing that the marriage for both men and women now is in their late 20s and so unless you are going to have a child without being married that is pushing off childbirth still more. >> guest: it pushes it backwards. it's interesting. some of the stuff becomes counter intuitive. a lot of people might assume that as women have been pushing to the work force number and 70% of women or outside of the home that would contribute to fertility decline. maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. it shows countries with high your participation rates, countries like france and sweden and norway have much higher fertility rates than what we think is very traditional in the countries like greece and italy and spain and the work at much
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lower rates. i try to come back into this often in the book. the data will tell you things you might not intuitively think can be true. >> host: some of the thinking behind some demographers feel that countries like france may be made easier for the women to work and so those that were inclined to think they can mix having a career and children, do you think that might be the case? >> guest: it's tough to say. there is a good deal of research on that. there's a really fantastic bit of research done on the net effect of the states and the state spending for the most part it means things like we see in the countries and france where you have the government-run the care centers where basically your taxes pay for the government to free the day care center so you can then drop your kids off while you go to work. sort of a circular sounding system and it shows the actual effect is pretty small on
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fertility. for every 25% increase in the government spending on these programs there isn't a 0.6 increase on the rate in the short term so what is the difference then between france and the countries that you see the rates are much lower around 1.3 or 1.5 and the difference is cultural life think. we have places where there is a longstanding commitment to try to make family life work and the of been obsessed with all this demographic stuff right after the first world war. so it helps to take things seriously over the long haul in the demographic tide. >> host: i would like to come back to the things that countries are trying and what works and what doesn't. but let's back up a little bit and talk about the cause. what role does religion played? it seems to be an important
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predictor who is going to have children and who is not, but not religion in the sense of relief, but in terms of attendance of church services or other participation in religious life. can you talk about that a little that? >> guest: it is a fascinating subject because change, if you go back and look at the national battle of the statistics reports from the 1900's, when you see is classification of the low fertility and the demographers back then talk about this spigot as it happens there's an enormous demographic but we saw in the catholic fertility. now, over the years its increased until they met together and photographers said this is the end of the fertility and the catholics no longer were special but says something much more interesting had happened. what happens is it no longer matters what your actual belief was. it mattered that you were jewish or muslim or more men are catholic or protestant all that
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matters is how often you attended your services and so there is a real straight line between the increase fertility and church attendance. if you go once every two months it's higher than if you go not at all. if you go once on this higher still and you go once we get is higher still. not only is the frattali higher at your ideal for devotee, people that go to church want to have bigger families and people that do not. and so you have this real split in america between secular america not only are the fertility rates much lower than the ideal fertility rate, and believe me people still not only won the full figure families that have bigger families. if you think about this anecdotally, you will -- and you're own experience when is the last time you saw the family with six or seven kids that didn't go to church every week? the general social survey is
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giant wonderful longitudinal survey of about 17,000 if you dig, you can look at the number of people that have four or more children and then look at them by church attendance. the number of people with four or more that never go to church is exactly zero. >> host: of course they also play an important role in the family dynamics and encouraging a community of people that have trend and perhaps that helps encourage families to have more. >> guest: i think so. three-quarters talks about this in the book which to a lot of extent is a raw deal. there's a ton of research and suggests that many people that are identical by every way, same race comes in religion,, one of them as a parent and one
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is not. that makes sense. having a kid isn't a laugh, it's a lot of hard work. this free difficult for the government to bribe people. you can't construct a bribe big enough to make up for the 1 million-dollar cost of with the diapers and i teach you at 16 but you can argue them into having children i think and this is largely where church is doing and they do not argue that you should have children specifically also some religions do with the whole purpose of religion regardless of the belief is to suggest there is something bigger than you and i at this moment and that is the pre-requisite to give up your life as you know it and have a child now because you believe that there's something bigger and more important than you are doing right now and it's okay to give up your own happiness
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>> host: let me raise an issue that could be a delegate to the it could delicate. there are commentators in history that have talked about fallen utility and framed it in terms of either the wrong people having children or the right people not having enough of them. what are your thoughts on this and can you talk about how this issue has played out? >> guest: it's hard to look at any part of the demographics. we refer to the delicate and the eugenics movement. it begins with thomas malthus and expands through margaret sanger who was a member of planned parenthood. she conceived of the birth control pill and the means to have fewer children unfit as she put it and she would talk about
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people in the jungle and its really sort of grotesque stuff. since everybody is having fewer children now it's hard to look and say these people are having too many were those people were having too many because as it is. but guess there was this under current to that had a lot of early demography about, you know, the undesirable having too many children. and you see in a slightly ugly way and the judgment of the a theocracy which is the classic about ten years ago and the thesis of itty autocracy is that smart people aren't having enough children and some people are out there helping thaw. it's also wrong because they are who this looks down on as the
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people having too many children. they are not having too many children but they've cut back on their fertility as well. they did a and interesting study about five years ago looking at the push 700 years at the mine under the population data and what he found is the fertility had always been aspirational behavior and something the people wanted to do in denudation of what they thought. so for several centuries the elite have more children and the lower class is have fewer children only because they couldn't choose the level of elite they just didn't have enough money they couldn't afford as many children. and when they began cutting back on having children in the 18th century, what happened is then the lower class is followed the lead and the two groups have been headed on the same, a downward headed have ever since then.
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>> host: the fort with that country's fertility rate and it turns out that one of the reasons it is cited is that all the soap operas on television show well-off the no children or small families and that this has permeated the culture and less well off. >> guest: they came to the parts of the country and this town got its television started what are the fertility rates, what happened to the fertility rates and you can literally watch, you can see the maps as television came down, the utility went down and the fertility rates went down. they said it's a larger cultural force where all these things are lining up together. maybe it's fine not to have
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kids. >> host: let me put one more question before the break which is to what extent does the utility depend upon women's greater aspiration for work or more flexibility in their lives and to what extent should we incurred those aspirations posing this as a rhetorical question i don't suspect you believe they should. >> guest: it's complicated when you look at the numbers men and women tend to. this is counter intuitive. you wouldn't necessarily assume that i don't think. the utility rate changes over the course as you are younger you want fewer children and as you get older you adjust upwards the number that you kind of wish that you had had and if you look at the men and women as they get closer their ideal number begins to go up a little bit.
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the fact that we are underachieving our ideal members and particularly at the elite levels to keep their college degrees and have graduate degrees that is their ideal fertility numbers in the course of their lifetime and so i think it is hard to say it is a case of them deciding that they don't want the children. think it is more the case that they do want careers, they pursue their careers and it turns out that we have elected this culture in the system of living that makes it incredibly difficult to do both and any attempts to fix this will have to look at removing of roadblocks and allowing people that do not to have children find ways to do it.
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>> host: there is something else going on besides falling birthrates fothen. the baby boom is getting old, this can be expressed as about 10,000 a year, 10,000 people at a turning 65. what are the implications of that for the falling fertility? do they reinforce each other or interact? >> guest: we think about the population profile, the population profile has a 2.1 fertility rate. a basically looks like the
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founding pen straight up but it's nice and symmetrical until you get older and people pass off to the undiscovered country as they get older. you get an inverted pyramid and things are not terrible yet in america if you look at a country in japan and really doesn't look like japan is going to have more people over 85. and this creates a problem. there are almost no examples of long-term economic peace and prosperity in the society that normally is a sign of backwardness because the society happens before the population contraction begins with half of the upside-down pyramid signing off more and more people are the dying every year so when you have a great society it breaks
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down in the consumer society and the demand goes back for everything but basically health care what innovation that isn't incentive for innovation and not only that, but the courts where invention and entrepreneurship is under 40 and the innovation state of their lives in the capitol markets the healthy population profile they have a large population out there because the young people are saving and when you have a society that is very great they're looking to preserve their capital so the capitol flows begin to invert in ways and once you have all this money flowing in to support the pension systems and the social security and medicare we have
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less money and fewer warm bodies within the military age men and when do that, women in the world. for sweden and doesn't matter if you can't support your military but it's reasonably considered for a force of good in the world and stability and it becomes problematic. >> host: let me challenge you on that. we take positions on these issues but certainly there are many demographers and social scientists out there that say the kind of issues with population and fertility or a kind of problem you would want to have and the governments like the ones on the u.s. that have resources can solve them and to have an older people who can be persuaded to join the workforce or stay in the work force longer
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and bring more women in so they can become more productive. this is what happens in a modern society with its live with eight. what do you say to that? >> guest: i would say that it all depends on how deep of ahold you are in. japan is about 1.2, 1.3 these are quite bleak. there were suffering from a lost decade but it turns out they're suffering from the beginning of the demographic winter. they hadn't had a gdp growth about 1.5% in 20 years now to experience the robust economic growth. what's more things could get worse. the state sales in its promulgation and all sorts of generational work. recently the finance minister in japan it was time for the people
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of japan to hurry up so you wind up setting up these at material relationships and the generations where you have the older people that need to be taken care of, if they want to be taken care of and deserve to be taken care of but then the workers to support them. as the retirement ratio of the number of workers per retiree you have about 20 choices to cut the benefits for the retiree sycophant take more in taxes. we have made it too expensive to raise children and people don't have enough income to do so and it has to be middle class thing. taking more taxes is a vicious cycle. taking more from your workers making it harder for them to have children of their rell and so it becomes dangerous i think
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that we can muddle through. it will be the best that we can do. it's one thing to get old when you are rich and it's quite another when you are poor. the decline is happening all over the world. it's very different because they do not have pension systems that we have set out in the society to take care of the elderly. china already has a slow motion catastrophe where you are going to have literally hundreds of millions of people who are elderly with no state support whatsoever in the pension health care and very little money to support them because as the one child policy they have one of
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their own and so what are the chinese we do? and it's a terrifying question. >> host: if you are convinced this is a ruling disaster of some kind, what works or what doesn't, what can the government do to encourage women or families to have more children? >> guest: that's how we sell books. people have been trying to do this for all long time. caesar augustus past the bachelor tax to get people married and have kids and that didn't work. they have a fertility problem and they have a motherhood metal to have five or more children. you can get them on ebay.
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they've spent the better part working hard. the other countries say the fertility rates aren't that hot and they have the rate of 6.1 to 6.7. all the evidence suggests that is because of innovation and they have a great deal for north africa and the difference in the fertility rates between the native frenchmen and the immigrant frenchman is the enormous. at least half and possibly more coming from france they are dodging the they don't let you take those numbers in by recent country and all that said you look at all these things and it tells you what works and what doesn't work. we like to think everything will
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be fine if we have the traditional values. but evidence suggests that may not be true either. singapore looks like what would happen if which santorum went on steroids and did everything he wanted to do. you have the prime minister giving speeches about ten years ago about how the coming you know, single motherhood was to double in the traditional the family. the stuff with the social conservative coupled with generous government policies to help parents with big cash bonuses when you have a child, preferential except in schools if you have two or more children. the drive even went so far as a 401k account for kids. so when you say you put away $100 for diapers and the government will match them as
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well they even did the kind of thing faugh which is they work hard to relocate to grandparents so they can be near the parents and help with child care. who doesn't want grand blanc and grandpa's helping out and they work on the project of saving the fertility rate for ten years now. it's about 1.1 as the lowest utility rate in all of history. just because it hasn't worked in singapore doesn't mean it can't work anywhere else. but it does give you pause. what i say in the book is that we need to be very modest and our goals and ambitions to have the permanent policies in the first rule whatever you do you should be dennett for the long haul and that is a success. they haven't dealt down into that level seen in germany.
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so that's good. it speaks to a culture that values the family. but the other thing to do is to incentivize childbirth and bribe people into having the kids they don't want to read what you would like to do is remove the gridlock that excess for the people that already want children and the extent that you can do that through policies which may not on their face i suggest more high rates for instance to improve access on the suburbs to make it easier for parents to get back-and-forth on their jobs. when you can do is gradually making it a little bit easier for people that want to have children to achieve their ideal fertility numbers. and then in the long haul -- >> host: there are some financial incentives that have been batted around.
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whether they could be savored a little bit and the payment given some relief. what is your view? >> guest: that would count as we look at the framework to remove the artificial gridlock, social security as we discussed earlier is an artificial roadblock and externality in the supply-demand terms. in the market for parents caring for children, and they care for them as they get old, social security is an externality that comes in and messes up the market because it says we will do that work for you no matter if you have children to to the extent you have parents but are creating these children as future tax payers that are going to support the system and going to the enormous extent to create and raise these people they can get jobs and pay taxes and would make sense while they are in the
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act of parenting for 18 years to give them the relief and one of the proposals is reduced by a third under the age of 18 and maybe that would do something for us. >> host: that's on a personal level. on the policy level you raise the issue of immigration and how that is affecting the numbers in print. what about in the u.s., there's a lot of interest in the immigration policy if and possible legalization of some folks that are already here. what is that going to do or what could they do or not do? >> guest: again it's important to recognize that there are costs even if you think in the balance it's a good thing purely demographic we come straight demographic perspective immigration has been very good for america and without it we've had the last 30 years we would be where europe is right now.
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>> host: the have higher birthrates. >> guest: we have more people in america right now. to give you some sense it's almost a decade's worth of children. almost a decade worth adding to the population profile we didn't make the old fashioned way and that's a good. without those people we would look like you're out right now and that would be quite bad. it comes with all sorts of costs, immigration particularly legal makes it harder to earn a living on the wage scale in america. it causes all sorts of problems. he was dismayed to find it turns out that immigration instead of bringing everybody together it turns out that makes it a little bit less willing in society but all of this may be beside the
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point because in america we think about that as the demand side of immigration. there is a supply side to it as well and the supply side is this, the texas border in mexico and in central and american as i said fertility rates are falling, they're falling very fast. within 20 years it is likely that none of the country's south of the border will have a utility rate over the replacement rate. historically, countries that have the lowest replacement fertility do not spend. it's already the country's far below the replacement and you say this with mexico they've done great work on this it's either just that one of the utility replacement rate and we have the zero migration from mexico and some of it is certainly having to do with the great recession but the demographers believe this is the beginning of the rearrangement
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in our immigration relationship with mexico to such a large degree it is almost beside the point with ever consensus we come to in america. build a fence, don't build a fence, have amnesty, don't have amnesty. we aren't calling to have people coming across the border from south america anyway, and at that point we are in a different sort of bickel. >> host: but the world has never seen the type of population decline due to falling birthrates that you're talking about. there's been examples of population decline among other things that was a bad outcome. but do we know the population decline has to be a bad thing? as they keep going down the population here and there. >> guest: we don't know for sure and one of the things i try
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to say in the book we don't know anything for sure but what we know is the snapshot we have in front of us right now. we don't even know for sure the populations are going to be on a decline. take a country like poland. i suppose it is possible that beginning tomorrow people start having for babies but it's likely. if you had been in 1960 in the middle of the beebee boom what is going to happen in the fertility rate you wouldn't have believed what what happened on the demographic cliff so it's important to be modest on the predictions we know is going to happen. we don't but we do know how many people are born today and we don't know how many people when reproductive age, we know the size of the courts and we know what the slope of the lions are the despite things could change. so that is these caveat.
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but i think you would have to believe this time is different. you have to believe that all of the evidence in this society that goes to population contruction and then experience the economic stagnation and stability you have to believe that would now be different and it's the sixth most dangerous word so i'm nervous to do that. as i said before it is different depending on where you are. china's experience is to be quite disruptive and you wouldn't want to be in china particularly as an older person over the next year's but if you are in sweden as things go south it could be better to the we could only have the collapse with social security entitlements but we wouldn't like to have that right now.
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it turns out we may be lucky if that is all we get. >> host: you don't think as a country with resources and time that we could manage this matter? >> guest: if we stay where we are now we could probably whether things okay and we have an organization that is going to last for probably another ten or 15 years here. br despite the political culture looks like on the day to day basis it is a stable place. people respect the e. elections and the judicial system and all that. but what if we are not? utility has long been aspirational. people fought for the utility rate in america and for the college-educated and graduate women have been declining and continue to decline. right now for the white college-educated women the fertility rate is 1.6.
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in china it had a one china policy -- child policy brutal policy forcing women to abortion and they can't find you if you have to many children the utility rate is 5.4. they are almost identical so if everybody else keeps driving towards the bottom and we keep heading towards what they call the lowest blow replacement which is when most countries began much more difficult to manage the decline. >> host: que raise the manner of politics and the political polarization and so forth and you do talk about this a bit in the book the way that the politics and fertility interact that is people that have bigger families versus those that have no children or small ones, could you do that a little bit? >> guest: bishop had a good book a few years ago and the thesis was basically you drive around the neighborhood and look at the neighborhood itself and you can tell you that
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neighborhood is in the presidential elections without actually talking to anybody. there is a whole food and pet spa menu are going to look at that neighborhood and say that is going to go for obama but instead it's a bunch of churches and playgrounds and a couple of kindergarten care centers you can be sure that town is granted for mitt romney. it turns out that is true. we are an enormous degree since 1970 the percentage is a landslide county which go overwhelmingly for one candidate versus the other for the presidential elections have increased. we are now about three-quarters of the country is a landslide county. it is one of the reasons that we look around and we think that we are more polarized and we've sort it out into these little communities. the point that the bishop was making and i ever reach we are not doing this on the base of the politics, people voting for the same candidates that we are but we are arguing on the basis of the lifestyle and to a large
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degree the lifestyle in america organized around with or not you were going to have children to read if you are not, you can live in brooklyn and have nothing but the pubs and bowling alleys and shops around you and life is great. i'm not looking down on what that life is like that if you decide you are going to have a couple kids and send those kids to school you want to make sure you are near a good school district to make a different series of life choices. my wife and i were in that glorious period we didn't have children and we lived in this little suburb of washington which john kerry to read i think 83 code 20, something like that. and, you know, again we had a pet spa and no kids anywhere. we had our children, we moved out which bush carried something like 80 tarincot 20 and as you pull into the community there is a big road sign that says watch children the entire community
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because there are kids running around everywhere. people as bill bishop noted the move into these little communities. >> host: does it have to be that way? >> guest: i don't know. that is the next question. i kind of wish it wasn't that way. i think most people wish it wasn't that way to beat this is a part of what has happened i think with increasing mobilization in america. if you go back a generation or two generations suppose, you would be in a suburban town in pennsylvania or new york state and on any given street he would have people from every single age group. the old people in the neighborhood, people who are older, people who are in their middle child bearing years and people just starting out. people basically settle where they were born and raised once you introduce the mobility of people can grow up in one place and settle in another i think it becomes hard to avoid.
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>> host: you have a fema throughout your book i would say the unpleasantness of having children because it has to be a choice not for the squeamish and i guess if we could close the hour i guess your defense of why one should have children. >> guest: the only thing worse than having children is not having them and i think that this is true. having children is in many ways a sold crushing endeavor but it's wonderful and that it speaks to a deep and important way the human experience and that the human experience is extending beyond ourselves and so if you believe in anything being bigger than yourself it doesn't have to be what i believe for you believe, but
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america can be got, secular humanism for all we care what you believe in something bigger than yourself and i think it becomes unavoidable that at some point you say i have to have kids. >> host: thank you, jonathan last. >> that was "after words," booktv signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policy makers, legislators and others familiar with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. on sunday at 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch "after words" on line. go to and click on "after words" in the book tv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. ..
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